Everyone knows Pablo Picasso’s painting about the Civil War horrors that befell the Basque town of Guernica, but few remember the day Italian aircraft bombed Alicante’s, Central Market.
Designed to inflict the maximum number of casualties and to bring terror to the citizens of Alicante, Italian commanders selected Wednesday (Market Day) on the 25th of May 1938 to drop over 90 bombs on Alicante’s Central Market.
Flying at a high altitude to avoid the Republican Armies near obsolete anti-aircraft guns, shoppers were taken completely by surprise as the air raid sirens failed to announce the arrival of the Italian bombers.
When the raid was over and the three-engine aircraft Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 aircraft had turned around to return to their base in Mallorca 300 people had died and just over 1,000 were left wounded.
Today if you visit Alicante’s Market all that remains from the devastation is the market’s clock in a glass case an air raid siren that failed to go off and a ceramic plaque on the wall.
Last year marked the 80th anniversary of the bombing with Alcoy artist Manuel Solbes Arjona creating a painting to remind people that Italy has never apologised for the crimes committed by Mussolini’s fascist air force in Alicante.
The choice of Manuel Solbes Arjona being commissioned to do the painting was also fitting given the fact Alcoy was bombed seven by the Italians between 1938 and February1939.
To learn all about the role Alcoy played in the Civil War visit the bomb shelter/museum in Cervantes Park.